No bumpy roads, no traffic, only a stretch of leveled thin road with few turns bordered by dense jungle took us to our resort in Jim Corbett National Park. As it was 4.45 am when we arrived at Ramnagar station, the sun had quite some time to wake up. Through darkness and wilderness, a taxi took me and my husband to our pre-booked resort in India’s oldest national park. As it traversed through forest engulfed narrow roads, we started to smell adventure at the backdrop. No cars and mankind on our route, it was only dimness and heightened adventure that became our partners that time. In such a dark forest area, wish we could have heard the roar the royal Bengal tiger from dense tall grass covered stretch of land. But unfortunately we couldn’t!
Like every other resort, our resort in Jim Corbett was made in the theme of wildlife sanctuaries. With huge gardens, tall and small trees at the backdrop of hills and wild flowing Kosi River made our stay a perfect one in the wilderness. Nothing can be more splendid and rejuvenating than bathing in an open air swimming pool that overlooks the thick forest covered green mountain ranges. Second half of the day turned adventurous as we started exploring every corner of the resort. It was a mini forest inside a big forest reserve. The sight and sound of the mighty flowing Kosi River in dark gave me goose bumps. The hills by the side came closer as we approached the end of our resort. Frogs came our way, cats and dogs moved around, insects rested on tree branches and sun beds and sheer silence prevailed all through. The environment was less lightened up that added to the dim look a sanctuary. Suddenly it started raining and load shedding happened. With torchlight we made our way to Gazeebo, a hut type restaurant by the side of the river for a candle-light dinner. Pitter patter raindrops by our side, cool breeze blowing our hair, sound of flowing water and dense forest under moon-lit sky gave rise to a perfect backdrop for a romantic barbeque. Amidst adventure, romanticism grew like a blooming bud where the flames of a candle illuminated our love story and taste buds.
We started next morning watching sunrise form our cozy bed. The golden rays gradually peeped through our long glass doors. With a cup of steaming coffee, we sat in the balcony amidst tall and short grasses and flower plantations. Morning dewdrops, chirping of birds, brisk air and swaying tree leaves can’t do anything other than turning a morning good. After a sleepy mid day, we woke up at 2:00 pm and headed for a jeep safari to Jim Corbett National Park, a dream destination for umpteen wildlife aficionados. After receiving permit, our jeep started to drive at a speed of 90km/hr. Crossing local villages we reached the gate of Jhirna Range, only range that remains open during monsoons. Some said that in monsoon, river water level rises up to roads, tree branches fall due to thunderstorm and create a dangerous situation to embark on a wildlife safari. And then all had the notion that we would hardly get to see any animals. But taking a risk, we embarked on an adventure that turned out to be the most priceless one till date.
We could hardly see any other vehicle. Our jeep was speeding like a jet plane crossing miles and miles of dense forest. Some giant trees bowed down while others stood still like mighty pillars. The roads started to go thin as we went deep and deep into the jungle. The drive at times turned out like a roller coaster ride and adventure reached its peak. Few hyenas came our way. Some crossed the road while others roamed in flat terrains. We stopped for a photo shoot and perfectly captured a hyena going from one side of the road to another. Suddenly we faced heavy downpour and our jeep had to stop midway. Rivers started to flow heavily from uphill. Tree branches fell and water constantly washed away tree leaves. We could only wait for the situation to turn stable. But we didn’t and our jeep rolled down its thick wheels across the heavy flowing waters. Oh my God! It was such a risky drive for a stretch of around 200 meters, a fight between man and nature. As I looked back I could see the angry look of nature that gave a damn to rest of the world. Tall dense shrubs engulfed us, water level rose significantly and rains continued as we crossed many small streams. The drive was scary, sun rays could not peep in through dense forest and adventure was at its zenith. Then came the most gigantic one called Monsoon River the only means to go to the other side of the forest. Water was gushing at a rapid pace, we could not understand the depth of the river, big rocks and mid-sized pebbles were scattered everywhere. As our jeep cruised through the mighty flowing river, I spotted a kingfisher on a rock. Then came a more dense area and we came across several spotted dears. Many looked back at us as we stopped for a click. Amidst the thick jungle, my expandable lens was powerful to take a click. The one with tall horns looked scary. Several black faced monkeys sat on branches and looked at us innocently while sight and sound of migratory birds soothed our ears.
After an hour we reached the end of Jhirna range and climbed up to a ‘machan’ to get a glimpse of the dense Corbett forest. It was an out of the world experience to stand at a height and observe the sight of an angry yet beautiful nature. Rain stopped and rivers calmed down. We made our way back. Gradually from thin topsy-turvy narrow forest covered zigzag roads, we started to approach the broader ones. Unfortunately we could not notice a royal Bengal tiger or could even hear its wild roar, but other birds and animals left us quite contented. Before we reached the final exit gate, few spotted deer came our way to bid good bye. The jeep again started to speed like a jet plane and I stood up to inhale the cool brisk air that had the touch of adventure. The entire stretch looked like a postcard image in shades of brown, blue, green and yellow pastels. The sun had already started to set and this time we watched sunset from jungle. It was dark when we returned to our resort. Our feet was tired and all we could do that night was have a bowl of spicy noodles and recollect the adventurous experiences of our wildlife safari.
As we checked out of our resort next morning, one thought came to my mind, embarking on a wildlife tour during monsoon is the most adventurous trip ever to a wildlife sanctuary. The angry look of nature justified by thunderstorms, gushing rivers and absolute greenery can’t be witnessed during other seasons.